about the Soyuz TMA-8 Manned Spacecraft Launch
to the International Space Station

March 30, 2006. Baikonur Cosmodrome.

The integrated launch vehicle Soyuz-FG carrying Soyuz TMA-8 was launched at 06:30:20 Moscow summer time from Baikonur cosmodrome.
The Russian transport manned spacecraft carries on board Expedition Thirteen (ISS-13) crew and the Tenth Visiting Crew (VC-10).
The Soyuz TMA-8 crew consists of Russian test cosmonaut Pavel Vladimirovich Vinogradov (spacecraft commander, ISS-13 commander, S.P.Korolev RSC Energia, Hero of the Russian Federation), U.S. astronaut Jeffry Nels Williams (spacecraft flight engineer 1, ISS-13 flight engineer, United States Air Force colonel), and first Brazilian astronaut Marcos Cesar Pontes (spacecraft flight engineer 2, spaceflight participant, Brazilian Space Agency astronaut, Brazil Air Force lieutenant colonel).
The launch is primarily aimed at rotation of the Expedition Twelve (ISS-12) crew and scheduled changeover of Soyuz TMA-7 spacecraft, which had been operating within the orbital station as a crew rescue vehicle since October 3, 2005.
The ISS-13 crew is assigned with a task to support functionality of the ISS Orbital Complex throughout 178 days (since March 30 through September 24, 2006), implement the program of science and application research under the Expedition 13 and Visiting Crew 10 programs and commercial contracts, conduct extravehicular activities with a space walk to the external station surface. The station crew will have to perform operations with Soyuz TMA-8, Soyuz TMA-7, Soyuz TMA-9, Progress M-56 and Progress M-57, support docking operations for U.S. Space Shuttle after their return to flights to the station. Marcos Pontes will work in orbit under the VC-10 program for ten days and return to ground with Soyuz TMA-7 together with the ISS-12 crew.
The spacecraft is inserted into a near-earth orbit with parameters: the inclination of 51.66, minimum altitude of 201.6 km, maximum altitude of 259.1 km, period of 88.8 min. The spacecraft onboard systems are operating normally.
At insertion the ground control loop supported a permanent earth-to-crew voice communication, downlink of color TV information, as well as command and telemetry communication.
The ISS-12 crew consisting of Russian cosmonaut Valery Tokarev (flight engineer), and NASA astronaut William McArthur (commander) performed required operations to prepare the orbital complex for docking.
The spacecraft docking is scheduled for April 1, 2006. The estimated time of a contact with the ISS Functional Cargo Block Zarya will take place at approximately 08:19.
The decision about the launch of the Soyuz-FG/Soyuz TMA-8 was made by the State Board (co-chairmen of the State Board are N.F. Moiseev, Deputy Director of Roskosmos, and V.A. Grin, Deputy General Director of TsNII of Machine-Building) based on the Technical Management statement on the readiness of the complex and ground infrastructure components involved in the ISS program implementation.
The technical management for preparation of the complex and ground infrastructure components was chaired by N.N. Sevastyanov, RSC Energia President, General Designer for Manned Space Complexes and Technical Manager for Flight Tests.
The manned spacecraft processing and launch were conducted under technical management of N.I. Zelenschikov, First Vice-President, First Deputy General Designer of RSC Energia.
During the final spacecraft prelaunch operations, launch and insertion into a near-earth orbit the Baikonur launch site was attended by A.N. Perminov, Director of the Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos), N.F. Moiseev and V.A. Grin, co-chairmen of the State Board, V.V.Tsibliev, Director of Yu.A. Gagarin CTC RGNII, responsible representatives of Roskosmos, NASA, Brazilian Space Agency, S.P. Korolev RSC Energia, allied space enterprises and organizations, participating in the realization of the ISS Project.
The progress of prelaunch processing and launch were observed by the deputies of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of RF, representatives of Russian clergy, foreign space agencies, business circles of Russia and Kazakhstan, as well as leading Russian, Brazilian and other foreign news agencies and TV companies.
The spacecraft and ISS Russian Segment flight is commanded by the Lead Operational Control Team working in Moscow Mission Control Center (The Flight Director is V.A. Soloviev, Vice-President of S.P.Korolev RSC Energia, Deputy General Designer, Pilot-Cosmonaut).

For reference: The launch of Soyuz TMA-8 spacecraft is the 12th launch covered by the Russian obligations under the ISS program and the 118th launch from the beginning of operation of the Soyuz spacecraft (1966), developed and being manufactured by RSC Energia in cooperation with space enterprises.






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